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20 April, 2015

Summer Salad

Posted in : From TTR Kitchen, Health Garden on by : Isha K Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Well, once upon a time, someone told me to include lots of salad in my meal, even told me to carry it to my office for lunch without bothering about my colleagues, lol. I even did this for some time, but then due to a tight schedule again that unhealthy lifestyle overtook.

“A Salad is not a meal. It is a style.” – Frenz Lebowitz. True it is. We always think that salad is a boring thing to make and even to eat, but as the trends are changing, people are moving towards the healthy lifestyle and new salad recipes are mushrooming up. Even some food joints offer variety of salads. It is a salad recipe which is so refreshing in summer and it is very healthy. You can bring a life to your boring green salads with a little twist and a quick and easy dressing.

Summer_Salad

 

The ingredients used in this salad are super healthy (read the health benefits of them in garden of facts just after the recipe), the salad looks so colorful and the end result is a real temptation.

This exquisite salad is very refreshing, the crunch and mild sweetness of carrot and capsicum will blow you with a hint of lemon juice and olive oil. Your taste buds will beg for more soft tomatoes and juicy cool cucumbers, and the mildness of shallots proves to be a great shot in this. I often make this salad now and it is my personal favorite.

Preparation Time- 10-15 minutes

Refrigeration Time- 15-20 minutes

Serves- 4

Ingredients-

1. Cucumber- 2Nos.

2. Carrot – 2 Nos.

3. Shallots– 2-3Nos.

4. Tomatoes– 2 Nos.

5. Capsicum- 1 No

6. Lettuce or Salad Leaves – for serving

7. Fresh Green Coriander- as much as you like

8. Mint Leaves – 2-3

9. Green Chillies- 1-2 (optional)

For Dressing-

Lemon Juice- 2 Tablespoon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 2 Tablespoon

Black Salt- to taste

Black Pepper Crushed- to taste

Dried Herbs – oregano, parsley, rosemary, celery (whatever available in your kitchen, it is totally optional)

You can also add Chat Masla, It just came into my mind while writing this, I haven’t tried chat masala in this.

Method-

1. Peel Cucumber, Carrot and Shallots. Wash all the ingredients nicely.

2. Chop all the veggies cubically except Salad leaves, fresh coriander and mint. Add mint leaves.

3. Take a bowl, add all the dressing ingredients mentioned above. Fold it nicely, taste and adjust the amount of herbs.

4. Mix dressing with the veggies, Toss and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

5. Take a bowl in which you want to serve your salad, place Lettuce or salad leaves. Add the refrigerated salad and garnish with Coriander.

Serve Cold.

You can also add sprouted beans, it will add protein value to your salad.

Summer Salad

 

 Garden Of Facts-

There are many salads and they each have some history associated with them like Ceaser salad, Cole Slaw Salad, Waldorf Salad, Russian Salad, Greek Salad, Fattoush Salad and etc, etc. You will get a long list with recipes on your search engine. You could make your own salad too, and create a history lol. 😉 There are a variety of salads in this every part of the world with so much of interesting dressings. A salad dressing is a sauce which adds flavor and a nice texture to the salad. It is usually based on vinaigrette, mayonnaise and other emulsified products.

*Salad dressings and sauces have a long and colorful history, dating back to ancient times. The Chinese have been using soy sauce for 5,000 years; the Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens nearly 2,000 years ago; and the ever-popular Worcestershire was derived from a sauce used since the days of the Caesar. Indeed, early Romans preferred their grass and herb salads dressed with salt. Egyptians favored a salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Oriental spices. Mayonnaise is said to have made its debut at a French Nobleman’s table over 200 years ago. Salads were favorites in the great courts of European Monarchs – Royal salad chefs often combined as many as 35 ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, including such exotic “greens” as rose petals, marigolds, nasturtiums, and violets. In the Twentieth Century, Americans went a step further in salad development – making it a fine art by using basic dressing ingredients (oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and spices) and Yankee ingenuity, to create an infinite variety of sauces and dressings to make salads the best ever. “Store bought” dressings and sauces were largely unavailable until the turn of the century. Many of the major brands of dressings and sauces available today were on the market as early as the 1920’s.

*Source – whatscookingamerica.net

Now coming to the health benefits of the ingredients used in this salad.

Cucumber- Cucumbers are extremely beneficial for overall health, especially during the summer since it is mostly made of water and important nutrients that are essential for the human body. The flesh of cucumbers is rich in vitamins A, C, and folic acid while the hard skin of cucumbers is rich in fiber and a range of minerals include magnesium, molybdenum, and potassium. Additionally, cucumber contains silica, a trace mineral that contributes greatly to strengthening our connective tissues. Cucumbers are known to heal many skin problems, under eye swelling and sunburn. Cucumbers also contain ascorbic and caffeic acids, which prevent water loss, therefore cucumber is frequently applied topically to burns and dermatitis.

In the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, cucumbers were very popular, and their uses were not limited to just being food. It was also praised for its beneficial effects on the skin. Louis XIV also cherished cucumbers greatly, and the process of cultivating cucumbers in greenhouses was invented during his time to make sure he was able to have a steady supply of the enjoyable vegetable during any season. The American colonists also took this variety of crunchy and healthy squash to the United States.

You are probably familiar with the phrase “cool as a cucumber”, which speaks directly to the soothing and cooling nature that cucumbers have when eaten. Cucumbers are grown mainly to be eaten fresh, and in India, you will often find sliced cucumbers being sold on the street on sunny afternoons. These cucumbers are usually cylindrical in shape and vary in length from about six to nine inches. However, the size of cucumbers varies according to a variety of cultivating factors as well.

Cucumbers are very sensitive to heat, so try to select the ones which are displayed in the refrigerated cases in the store. Look for firm cucumbers and check if the color is bright medium green to dark green. Avoid the yellow, puffy cucumbers that have sunken water-soaked areas or wrinkled tips. You will find less seeds in the thinner cucumbers.

If you store the cucumbers in the refrigerator, they will retain their freshness for a longer time. If the entire cucumber is not used in one meal, then wrap the remainder tightly in plastic or place it in a closed container so that it does not get dried out. Try to eat cucumbers within one or two days of buying them, or else they will become limp, especially if kept for more than a week.

Cucumbers can be cut into various shapes and sizes, and can be sliced, diced or cut into sticks. Cucumber seeds are edible and very nutritious, but some people prefer not to eat them. You can cut the cucumber lengthwise and use the tip of a spoon to gently scoop the seeds accordingly. Cucumbers are commonly used in a number of recipes. You can use half-inch thick cucumber slices and serve them with chopped vegetable salads. Cut the cucumber into a diced shape, mix them with sugar snap peas, mint leaves and then pour rice wine vinaigrette into the mixture. You can also make an excellent purée with cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers and onions. Finally, add salt and pepper for some extra flavor. Cucumbers similarly give a fresh taste to tuna fish or chicken salad preparations. Cucumbers can be eaten alone in its sliced form, or with a sprinkle of salt or pepper. No matter how you eat it, you are sure to get a whole lot of nutrition from this truly “cool” vegetable.

Carrot-

The health benefits of carrots include reduced cholesterol, prevention of heart attacks, warding off of certain cancers, improving vision, and reducing the signs of premature aging. Furthermore, carrots have the ability to increase the health of your skin, boost the immune system, improve digestion, increase cardiovascular health, detoxify the body, and boost oral health in a variety of ways.  They also provide a well-rounded influx of vitamins and minerals.

Carrots are one of the most widely used and enjoyed vegetables in the world, partly because they grow relatively easily, and are very versatile in a number of dishes and cultural cuisines. Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta carotene and fiber content. This root vegetable is also a good source of antioxidant agents. Furthermore, carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese.

Carrots vary widely in color and shape depending on the cultivator types. Generally, oriental taproots are long, featuring flat upper end with tapering, tail like, the lower ends. They are winter season crops in many parts of Asia. It is red in color.

European carrots, on the other hand, have more rounded ends with the almost cylindrical body. In addition, European-variety feature bright orange color in contrast to saffron colored Asian cuties.

Fresh carrots are available in the markets around the season. While buying, look for young, tender, bright-colored roots with a firm consistency. Avoid soft, flabby roots, with cuts or mold. Furthermore, avoid very large-sized roots as they are an indication of over maturity; ensuing poor eating quality. Once at home, wash them thoroughly in cold water to remove dust, soil, or insecticide/fungicides. Generally, the top greens are severed from the root before storing in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator where they keep well for 1-2 weeks.

Here are some serving tips:

Fresh carrots can be enjoyed as they are, or can be used raw in vegetable as well as fruit salads.

The slices easily blend with other common root vegetables like radish, beets, or with greens/tomato in mixed salads.

Carrot juice is a refreshing drink, enjoyed either alone or with fruit/vegetable juice.

Carrots mix well with vegetables like green peas, potato, peas in a variety of recipes either stewed, in curry, stir fries, etc.

In South Asia, delicious sweet dish, “gaajar ka halwa,” is prepared using grated carrot, dry fruits, butter, sugar, and milk.

The root is also used in the preparation of cakes, tart, pudding, soups, borscht, etc.

They are also used in the preparation of healthy baby-foods.

Green Capsicum- A fresh, crisp green bell pepper is a tasty vegetable that can be a regular part of your healthy eating plan. This vegetable is low in calories and contains 0 grams of fat and a good supply vitamins and minerals. Their mild, sweet flavor makes green bell peppers versatile enough to include a wide variety of nutritious recipes. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, including green bell peppers, reduces your risk of certain chronic illnesses. A 2006 article published in the “Bulletin of University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine” reports that the antioxidants in vegetables reduce free radical damage. Free radicals are compounds that cause cell damage that can lead to inflammation, heart problems and cancer. While red bell peppers contain larger amounts of antioxidants, green bell peppers are a significant source as well. Green bell peppers also contain zeaxanthin, which keeps your eyes healthy and might reduce your risk of age-related eye disorders.

Eat raw green bell peppers with low-fat ranch dressing or hummus for a nutritious and tasty side dish or snack. Add chopped bell peppers to spaghetti sauce or your favorite lasagna recipe. Stir chopped green bell peppers into scrambled eggs or layer raw strips of the pepper onto a lean turkey or chicken sandwich. Include green bell peppers in vegetable, chicken noodle or minestrone soup. The peppers complement the taste of chili as well. Scatter pieces of raw green bell pepper over a tossed green salad or add to pasta salad.

So have a healthy and refreshing Summer..!!

Take Care 🙂

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